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Dr. Lbachir BenMohamed is an associate professor of immunology, the founder and the head of the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology in the Department of Ophthalmology at UC Irvine.He also holds a joint appointment with the Center of Immunology at UC Irvine.
He is an independent immunologist, with a strong expertise in vaccine development against both infectious diseases and cancer.
Eradication Ocular Herpes | Eye Disease Research | Discovery Eye Foundation
Dr. Nesburn and Dr. Lbachir BenMohamed, an associate professor of immunology and the founder and head of the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology in the Department of Ophthalmology at UC Irvine, whose research is being funded by DEF and the NIH, are working on a way to stop the virus before it is activated from the brain.
Nesburn and BenMohamed are making a "lipopeptide" vaccine, which is composed of small parts selected from the most responsive glycoproteins and chemically linked to a lipid molecule (a fatty acid molecule normally present in the body), which replaces the toxic external adjuvant.
What's more, BenMohamed said, the lipopeptide vaccines are formulated in saline solution and can be applied as topical eye drops.
The vaccine can be entirely self-delivered: Application does not require any needles, does not need the help of a physician and does not require hospitalization.
According to BenMohamed, injectable vaccines can cost up to six times the expense of the vaccine itself and can raise other complications such as contamination and access issues.
The self-delivered topical vaccines are user-friendly, safe, cost-effective and powerful for global use.
The lipopeptide vaccine is already used in Europe in humans with HIV, but Nesburn and BenMohamed's group is the first in the world using the lipopeptide vaccine against ocular herpes - thanks, in large part, to the Discovery Eye Foundation.
"Developing a vaccine is time-consuming and money-consuming, compared to drug development," BenMohamed said.
When you link this fact to the high rate of HIV, BenMohamed said, it may be that having herpes predisposes you to HIV.
In fact, chances of contracting HIV rise 5-6 times in people who have herpes.
Enter the OH vaccine: While an AIDS vaccine has been elusive for nearly two decades, BenMohamed believes it may be better to first use the lipopeptide vaccine against ocular and genital herpes, so the compromised immune system can be boosted, which could consequently reduce HIV and AIDS.
Lbachir BenMohamed, Ph.D.Discovery Eye Foundation | About Us
Our Scientists | Lbachir BenMohamed, Ph.D. Dr. Lbachir BenMohamed is an Assistant Professor of Immunology, the founder and the head of the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology in the Department of Ophthalmology at UC Irvine.He also holds a joint appointment with the Center of Immunology at UC Irvine.He is an independent immunologist, with a strong expertise in vaccine development against both infectious diseases and cancer.Recurrent ocular HSV-1 infection (herpes infection of the eye) is a major cause of viral induced blindness.The same herpes cold sores that appear near the mouth can also infect the eye's cornea and cause blindness.Dr. BenMohamed and his team of research scientists are studying how to stimulate the immune system to protect the body from herpes virus infection and disease.They are attempting to develop a vaccine against the virus using state-of-the-art molecular immunology tools, which are biological procedures that favorably stimulate the immune responses in the body.They aim to use this knowledge to develop new vaccines or treatments to prevent or combat ocular and genital herpes infection and disease.In addition, his team has recently introduced a new line of research to study if vaccines can be developed to prevent tumors of the eye and other areas. Dr. BenMohamed received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the Pasteur Institute, Paris, France in 1997.He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct his research and is well known in the scientific community within both the United States and Europe.